The Teagasc Moorepark 2017 Dairy Open Day will take place in Teagasc Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, on Tuesday, July 4. The theme of the open day – which is sponsored by FBD Insurance –  is ‘Resilient Technologies’.

Resilient technologies, according to Teagasc, will allow dairy farmers, along with the wider dairy industry, to prosper in both the good times and the more difficult times.

According to Teagasc, dairy farm businesses that adopt such technologies will be technically and financially efficient, capable of generating surplus cash, will consistently achieve financial expectations and should be simple to operate.

These resilient technologies are based on the efficient production and usage of pasture, along with the use of high-EBI genetics in sustainable compact spring-calving systems.

Due to the rapid rise in milk production in recent years, dramatic changes have been evident in the structure of Irish dairy farms – nearly 50% of dairy cows are now milked in herds of more than 100 cows. There are signs that there is an insufficient supply of skilled labour at farm level to meet this level of expansion.

Open day

Pictured at the launch of Moorepark ’17 are Ciaran Roche, FBD Insurance, Tom O’Dwyer, Head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer, Teagasc, Prof. Gerry Boyle, Director Teagasc, Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Liam Herlihy, Chairman FBD Insurance, Patrick Horgan, Ulster Bank, Dairy Farmer David Kerr, Ballyfin, Co. Laois and Professor Pat Dillon, Head of Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Programme, Teagasc. Image source: O’Gorman Photography

It says the dairy sector now needs a reappraisal of farm management, with an increased focus on efficient work practices, subcontracting of particular jobs and attracting a higher supply of highly-skilled young workers into dairy farming.

Prof. Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc, spoke at the launch of the open day. He said: ”The Irish dairy industry is facing a number of challenges; the biggest being an inadequate supply of a trained and skilled workforce to meet the additional labour needs of an expanding national dairy herd.

Additional challenges include the on-going requirement to meet environmental targets, milk price volatility and any fallout arising from Brexit. This Teagasc open day will provide guidance to farm families on management of larger herds.

There will be a network of themed villages for farmers to visit at the open day, including Grass10, Breeding, Milk Quality, Profitable Systems, Dairy Farm Infrastructure and Investing in People.

There will also be a series of demonstrations on grazing management, farm infrastructure, reseeding, calf rearing and health and safety. In addition, there will be workshops on strategic management, labour management and new entrants to dairy farming.

There will be two Q&A panel discussions in the afternoon, which will be facilitated by Sharon Ni Bheolain from RTE Six One News. The first panel discussion will focus on ‘Brexit and Irish Dairying’, while the second will ask ‘How attractive is a career in dairy farming?’. These topics will be discussed by a panel of dairy farmers.

A new publication on ‘Dairy Farm Infrastructure’ that outlines the key principles in planning the farm grazing and milking infrastructure will be available on the day. This book is being supported by Ulster Bank.

The open day runs from 10:00am to 5:00pm. A comprehensive booklet will be provided to visitors while admission and parking are free.